Boxer ARG Departs U.S. 5th Area of Responsibility
By: LT Theresa Donnelly

U.S. 5TH FLEET AREA OF RESPONSIBILITY - The Boxer Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit(MEU) departed the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility (AOR) March 12, completing a five-month deployment in support of maritime security operations and security cooperation objectives with partner nations in the region.

Boxer ARG entered the AOR Oct. 18, relieving the Kearsarge ARG and served as a U.S. Central Command theater reserve force.

"It was an honor serving in this dynamic region and getting the opportunity to train with our military counterparts," said Capt. Malcolm Potts, commander, Amphibious Squadron 1. “Such exchanges enhance our war fighting readiness and build lifelong ties with partner nations.”

Potts said he is very proud of the crew’s accomplishments.

“Not only did they answer the call to duty and tirelessly meet every operational tasking, they looked for innovative ways to enhance our mission while growing in their respective professions,” said Potts. “This team represents not only the finest of the Navy and Marine Corps team, but they are excellent ambassadors for the United States.”

The ARG conducted several exercises in the AOR; strengthening partnerships, reinforcing regional security and promoting successful interoperability for the area. Additionally, the ships enjoyed port visits such as Oman, Dubai, Bahrain and Jordan, as well as a brief visit in the 6th Fleet area of responsibility with a port visit to Eilat, Israel.

“The ports we visited were exciting and adventurous. Each port brought something different and the crew embraced it well,” said Master Chief Personnel Specialist Jimmie McNuckle, adding that he considered the opportunity to visit Jerusalem a once in a lifetime experience. “This is an experience I can share with my church, family and friends once we return home. When you work as hard as this crew does, they deserve to enjoy liberty in ports that have everything to offer,” he added.

Relieved by the Bataan ARG and the 22nd MEU, the Boxer ARG continues its deployment into the 7th Fleet area of responsibility. The Bataan ARG and embarked 22nd MEU provide a combat-ready force for maritime interests of the U.S. and its allies in the Asian-Pacific region.

“Serving as a battalion landing team in the central command area of responsibility proved to be a unique, challenging and rewarding experience for our Marines and Sailors,” said Marine Lt. Col. Christopher Bronzi, Battalion Landing Team 1/4 commanding officer.

“We benefited tremendously from excellent venues where our small unit leaders – our ‘Men of Action’ – devised and implemented creative and realistic combined arms and live-fire exercises. The flexibility, proficiency and professionalism demonstrated by our maneuver units reflect our expeditionary mindset of always being ready to fight and win,” said Bronzi.

The Boxer ARG consists of Amphibious Squadron 1, amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4), and amphibious transport dock ships USS New Orleans (LPD 18) and USS Harpers Ferry (LSD 49) with the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit embarked throughout the ships. The 13th MEU, comprised of approximately 2,400 Marines and Sailors, served as the nation's rapid-response, sea-based Marine Air Ground Task Force in the U.S. 5th Fleet AOR.

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